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Russia and Israel: Public Hints of a Discreet Partnership

Monday, Sept. 13, 2010

Agence France Presse reported last week that Russia signed a five-year military cooperation agreement with Israel. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced the agreement, which includes joint defense education and medical training, on Sept. 6, after meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, in Moscow. Fifty Russian crewmembers are already in Israel training to operate the 36 drones Moscow that ordered after its 2008 war with Georgia, and the Russians are now proposing a joint production line to manufacture Israeli-designed UAVs in Russia.

The defense agreement comes just weeks after former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens wrote an op-ed in the Haaretz newspaper that raised eyebrows in defense communities on both sides of the Atlantic: If Washington won't allow the Israelis to modify the U.S.-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to their own needs, Arens wrote, then Israel ought to consider buying next-generation fighter jets from Russia or India instead. ...

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